I happened to drive by the location of the soon-to-be-built superior court building on 6th Street, across from the Courthouse Museum, and nothing was going on. A week or so ago, some activity was predicted, such as the putting up of fences and moving in of equipment, but nothing is happening yet. It still must be August.
After Labor Day, when August is behind us, things will start happening.
First will be the Madera District Fair, starting Sept. 6, which always gets people’s juices flowing. This year, people will flock to see the new Lumber Town exhibit, which will give them an idea of how the town was founded. Perhaps you will ask why Madera hasn’t remained a lumber town, and the answer is evident: Most of the trees that were worth cutting were cut down. Also, it became easier for people to earn livings by tilling fields, herding cattle and sheep and selling things to those who did. The 50-mile-or-so-long flume was dismantled, with the lumber used for other things.
Many in the county still recall and respect the days of logging. Two county supervisors, in particular, have memories of being involved with lumbering. Supervisor Max Rodriguez worked in a Madera mill when he was a young man, while Supervisor Tom Wheeler still keeps his logging skills sharp by participating in the annual North Fork logging festival.
The Lumber Town exhibit at the fair will do much to keep the city aware of its logging roots, even though far more tourism than tree-cutting occurs in the mountains now.
Some are saying ground may be broken soon for the high-speed rail project that’s supposed to start in the county, but don’t hold your breath. There may be some symbolic activity, but it will be awhile before much dirt is distributed. Maybe even until another August or two has gone by.